LTBMU addresses snowmobile plan

Freel Peak | Jonathan Cook-Fisher, USDA Forest Service

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit recently released a press release addressing the district’s status in updated its Over Snow Vehicle (OSV) Travel Management Project for snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles. The press release follows Sean McAlindin’s reporting in the Feb. 14 edition of Tahoe Guide on the status of all regional Forest District’s OSV plans. Read the article at YourTahoeGuide.com/access.

In that article, McAlindin reported that LTBMU released its initial ideas for snowmobile policy updates in 2019 but the district didn’t plan to release an environmental assessment or itsdevelopment of possible alternatives until 2025.

“Planning for this project, while ongoing, has been delayed in order to work with the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest and the State of Nevada on a comprehensive solution to the Mt. Rose Meadows area along SR431,” the release from LTBMU states.

“The Winter Recreation Project proposed action was shared with the public in 2019 and we received over 1,000 comment letters during the public scoping period. Based on the list of issues that were received during scoping the Forest Service will develop alternatives to the proposed action. Major issues that are driving the development of alternatives include: snow depth requirements and season of use for OSVs; high-use conflict areas; impact to sensitive areas and species of concern; impact of OSV use on neighborhoods; access points for OSV use; separation of uses; and suggestions for additional areas for grooming.

Read the full release from the Forest District in the online version of this brief at YourTahoeGuide.com/access. Additional information on the plan is available at bit.ly/ltbmuOSV.


Press Release from Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

Released March 4, 2024

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit would like to update you on where we are in the process and what the next steps are for the Winter Recreation and Over Snow Vehicle (OSV) Travel Management Project (Winter Rec Project).

THE MAIN POINTS
Planning for this project, while ongoing, has been delayed in order to work with the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest and the State of Nevada on a comprehensive solution to the Mt. Rose Meadows area along SR431.

The Draft EA is now planned for release to the public for the 30-day comment period in late 2025.

The public will have a chance to see all the alternatives and provide comments during that comment period.

The existing OSV Use Map is still in effect, no changes to the OSV map have occurred.

The existing OSV use map Forest Order was updated through December 31, 2025

PREVIOUS SCOPING SUMMARY
The Winter Recreation Project proposed action was shared with the public in 2019 and we received over 1,000 comment letters during the public scoping period. Based on the list of issues that were received during scoping the Forest Service will develop alternatives to the proposed action. Major issues that are driving the development of alternatives include:

  • Snow depth requirements and Season of Use for Over Snow Vehicles
  • High use conflict areas
  • Impact to sensitive areas and species of concern
  • Impact of OSV use on neighborhoods
  • Access points for OSV use
  • Separation of uses
  • Suggestions for additional areas for grooming

For almost each letter received by the Forest Service supporting one approach, there were also comments supporting the alternate viewpoint to the issues raised. The Forest Service will be developing alternatives that include balanced approaches. Alternatives that globally favor one user group over another are not being considered. This will ensure that any alternative available for the Forest Supervisor to choose from could be truly implementable, provides high quality opportunities for all members of the public, and conserves natural resources.

Some of you may have heard that there was an additional comment period in October of 2022, but that is not the case. No additional comment periods have occurred since the scoping period in 2019.

PARKING LOTS
Some issues were received that are outside of the scope of the Winter Recreation Project. Many of the existing winter snow parking areas along the highways and roads are not on Forest Service land and are not within our jurisdiction. The Winter Recreation project will not address these parking areas. There is, however, a comprehensive winter parking planning project in development with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency recreation working group to address winter parking in Lake Tahoe. The Winter Recreation project does propose new parking areas on Forest Service lands, however, and some of the alternatives will include additional winter parking areas that the public has helped us identify.

MAP ERRORS
An error on the original proposed action maps around the Glenbrook area led to some confusion about the proposal for OSV use in that area. Although the proposal was correct on the map, the wrong background color was used, which incorrectly implied that OSV use would extend up to the neighborhood. The corrected map was added to the website. In addition, this area received substantive comments during scoping that warrant the analysis of an alternative to the proposed action in that area.

WHERE CAN OSV’s CURRENTLY OPERATE?
There was some confusion about whether there has been a change to where OSVs can operate currently. No changes to the existing OSV use map have occurred yet. The areas open to OSV use will not change until after a decision has been signed by the Forest Supervisor for the Winter Recreation Project.

COMMENTING ON THE PROJECT
The project is not currently in a public comment period. While the public can provide input on a project at any stage, it is important to note that only commenters who provide comments during an official comment period will have standing to object to the project during the pre-decisional administrative review period. If you have received this email then you are on the official mailing list for the project and you will be informed when the next official comment period will be (estimated late 2025). For anyone else who did not receive this email and would like to be added to the mailing list, instructions can be found below.

ADDING NAMES TO THE MAILING LIST
If you received this email directly, then you are already on the project mailing list. Anyone else wanting to be added to the list should go to the project webpage, under the green heading GET CONNECTED on the right-hand side, click on Subscribe to Email Updates. You will then be asked to enter your email address.